Steven Berkoff is an actor, director, playwright and author, familiar through villainous appearances in films such as Rambo, Octopussy and War & Remembrance, but also regarded by many as the greatest living theatre practitioner.
Berkoff studied Drama in London and Paris and performed with repertory companies before forming the London Theatre Group in 1968. Their first professional production was In the Penal Colony, an adaptation of a short story by Kafka. Berkoff's first original stage play East, was presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1975. Other original plays include West, Decadence, Greek, Kvetch, Acapulco, Harry's Christmas, Lunch, Sink the Belgrano, Massage, Sturm und Drang, Brighton Beach Scumbags and Messiah..
Among the many adaptations Steven Berkoff has created for the stage, directed and toured are Kafka's Metamorphosis and The Trial, Agamemnon (after Aeschylus) and Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. His plays and adaptations have been performed in many countries and many languages. He has also directed and toured productions of Hamlet, Macbeth and Oscar Wilde's Salome. He has directed his plays and adaptations in Japan, Germany and Los Angeles as well as Richard II and Coriolanus for the New York Shakespeare Festival. His one-man show has toured Britain, the USA, South Africa, Finland, Italy, Singapore and Australia.
He has acted in films such as: A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Passenger, McVicar, Outland, Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo, Underworld, Revolution, Under the Cherry Moon, Absolute Beginners, Prisoner of Rio, The Krays, Fair Game, Flynn, Another 9 1/2 weeks, Legionnaire and most recently Rancid Aluminium. He directed and co-starred with Joan Collins in the film version of Decadence.
He has published a variety of books such as Gross Intrusion (Quartet Books) - a collection of short stories; I Am Hamlet and Meditations on Metamorphosis (both Faber & Faber), Coriolanus in Deutschland (Amber Lane Press), A Prisoner in Rio (Hutchison) - all production journals; The Theatre of Steven Berkoff (Methuen) - a photographic history of his productions over the last two decades; America (Hutchison) and Overview (Faber & Faber) - both travel writing and poetry collections; and Faber & Faber published his autobiography Free Association. His book of short stories entitled Graft: Tales of An Actor was published by Oberon Books in 1998.
Berkoff on Dillon
"...when I recently saw the young and talented George Dillon adapt [The Master of Café Society] for a one-man show I felt the awfulness and pain of it all over again. His performance was a masterpiece of timing and observation, but most of all he let himself go. I was most proud of my written work when I saw him."
in FREE ASSOCIATION, 1996
"The best example of someone to watch how to perform is George Dillon. He uses tremendous fluidity of movement, almost balletic grace, giving the distance that it needs, and he almost flatters my work."
in THE LIST, August 1994
"Physical theatre suggests... working with the body and not with the voice. But the uniqueness with George is that he's an excellent speaker with a wide vocal range and is able to marry the two parts. He's driven to always find material that's dangerous and emotional. George sniffs out what's underneath the surface, which is what I've always tried to do. But he's gone much further than I ever did; areas into which I just gently dipped my toe he has plunged from the cliffs headfirst."
in THE LATEST, January 1997